A day after the opening of her New York solo show in March 2010, artist Dhruvi Acharya lost her father. Eight months after, in December 2010, her filmmaker husband Manish Acharya died in an accident.
Her experiences of making sense of the sudden loss, dealing with it and emerging out of it are what make for her solo show After The Fall, her first in eight years in Mumbai. “I personally dealt with the grief by having an attitude of gratitude for all that I had and still have,” says Acharya. “I depend on the love and support of my family and friends and am determined to be a good and dependable parent to my boys by working as hard as I can.”
The exhibition of 27 paintings, an installation and 50 works on paper and scroll is the result of her resolve to spend time at her studio every day.
Fittingly, the title talks about choosing courage and rising from grief and not being trapped in it. “After the fall, comes winter, spring and summer – nothing is permanent,” says Acharya.
One work, ‘The Awakening’ is about death and destruction, but also of hope and reconciliation. The panel is symbolic of grief and exhaustion. The red flowers near the mourning person are the dreams that died. But from there emanates the voice of courage – which is mixed with the words or the breath of the goddess of hope. The black drops are those of negativity, which has made the rivers black in the destroyed city below. There are no plants or animals, indicating a dead world. But there are faint voices of the innocent and memories of the dead.
“While I was making this work, I was thinking of the Hindi phrase “Ghar ujad gaya” (Home is destroyed),” says Acharya. She was working on it when ISIS and the Syrian refugee situation were constantly in the news. “So The Awakening is also about the destroyed cities and the countless lives lost and tears of anguish shed in all the useless wars fought in human history,” says Acharya.
It started out as her personal story of loss and anguish and hope, but over time it spoke about a shared human experience relating to war, loss and grief, destruction and the environment. After The Fall is full of examples like these.
What The Fall, a show of works by Dhruvi Acharya
Where Chemould Prescott Road, 3rd Floor, Queens Mansion, G Talwatkar Marg, Fort
When October 14 to November 19, 11 am to 7 pm. Closed on Sunday
Entry is free.